NFL Picks Week #3 (2021 regular season)
NFL PICKS (WEEK #3)
BY PROFESSOR MJ
Written Wednesday September 22nd, 2021 at 2 PM Eastern Time (spreads/odds may have changed)
The NFL picks are off to a very hot start:
- Week #1: 4-1 record
- Week #2: 2-1-1 record
- TOTAL: 6-2-1 record (a 75% winning rate)
And that does not include the prop bets I shared with my members on Patreon, which have gone 5-1 so far this season.
I also recommended four plays on totals to my members, and those tips have posted a 3-1 record.
If we combine these three types of bets together, we hold an impressive 14-4-1 record, a 77.8% success rate, which is mind-boggling!
It’s not too late to join the 100+ other smart sports bettors on Patreon for just $4.25 per day. Simply click here to join!
Without further ado, here are my top 4 picks for Week #3 in the NFL! Strangely enough, I don’t have any high-confidence play that is rated either 4 or 5 stars out of five, as was the case in the previous two weeks.
PICK #1 (3 STARS): NEW ORLEANS SAINTS +3 AT NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
After tossing five TD passes against the Packers, Jameis Winston displayed a disappointing performance last week in Carolina with just 111 passing yards, 0 TD pass and a couple of interceptions. Things won’t get any easier against Bill Belichick and the New England defense, but I believe he can rebound and keep this game close.
Did you know that the last 30 times the Saints were established as road underdogs, they beat the spread on 22 occasions and lost just eight times? This organization also tends to rebound nicely after a straight up loss. Indeed, they are 5-2 against the spread (ATS) following their last seven losses.
Conversely, the Patriots have beaten the spread at a low rate as home underdogs, especially since Tom Brady left the organization. As a matter of fact, they are 3-7-1 ATS the last 11 times they were put in that situation. Also, New England is just 2-9-1 ATS following a straight up win.
Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of a person who wants to bet on the Patriots laying 3 points. That means you are asking rookie Mac Jones to beat a very decent Saints team by at least 4 points. In my opinion, that has less than a 40% chance of happening.
This should be a hard-fought game, possibly low scoring as well, in which case I would much rather put my money on the underdog. So let’s go with the Saints +3 points in Foxboro.
PICK #2 (3 STARS): MIAMI DOLPHINS +4 AT LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
At the time of writing, it remains unclear whether Tua will be under center for the Dolphins or not. It appears fairly unlikely at this point, so I’m going to assume that Jacoby Brissett will get the nod.
Did he look good last week against the Bills? Not really. But this time, he’ll have the entire week to prepare and practice with the first stringers.
I know that many people view him as a bad quarterback. I may be in the minority, but I believe he can do a decent job. During his career, he has 31 TD passes versus just 14 interceptions. That’s not a bad ratio. He can do well as a game manager, but you don’t want him involved in a shootout.
Brissett will work with a capable trio of running backs, as well as good receiving options like DeVante Parker, rookie Jaylen Waddle and the return of Will Fuller. This offense can certainly score some points against a below-average defense like Las Vegas has.
The Raiders are riding high after two amazing upsets against the Ravens and the Steelers. A key point to note is that a letdown game is very possible here.
The Raiders will also have to deal with some injuries on the offensive line, which was pretty bad to begin with. Now, with Derek Carr dealing with an ankle injury and Josh Jacobs likely to miss a second straight game, things may not go as planned for Vegas in this matchup.
The last four times the Raiders were tagged as favorites, the team failed to beat the spread. Meanwhile, Miami has covered the spread in each of their last four matchups as road underdogs. They are also 5-1-1 ATS over their last seven meetings against the Raiders.
I’m definitely taking the Dolphins with the 4 points.
PICK #3 (1 STAR): CINCINNATI BENGALS +3 AT PITTSBURGH STEELERS
I’m pretty upset because I was about to bet confidently the Bengals +4.5 points, but the spread dropped to 3. After the dust settled, I still like Cincinnati in this spot, but obviously not as much as I did with the bigger spread.
Right now I’m seeing the money line with the Caesars sportsbook at +160 in American format, or 2.60 in decimal, which is too high. If you have a chance to get similar odds, sprinkle a little bit of money line action.
The Steelers offense is a big disappointment right now. Ben Roethlisberger has expressed some frustration over Matt Canada’s play calling. The offensive line might be the worst in the entire league, and Big Ben has been inaccurate at times. To make matters worse, the Steelers QB has a pectoral injury that is really bothering him.
The last four times Pittsburgh has been established as a home favorite, the team failed to beat the spread.
On the other side, I am aware that the Bengals have not had good success in Pittsburgh, as shown by their 1-4 ATS record recently. However, Cincy has beaten the spread 9 times following their last 12 straight up losses. That shows their character, and they will put that extra effort in this divisional matchup. If the Steelers struggle early, the crowd will be quick to boo them.
Last week, I shared with you a NFL betting system that I like:
Bet a road underdog coming off a road loss.
Over a four-year stretch, this system yielded a 160-97-5 ATS record. That amounts to a 62.3% winning rate. That was one of my arguments when taking the Cowboys in L.A. last week, and it also fits with the Bengals this week.
PICK #4 (1 STAR): OVER 51.5 POINTS EAGLES-COWBOYS
Here is a betting strategy that is not well-known that applies only to Weeks 2 and 3 of a NFL season. Suppose both teams facing each other have been involved in games that went “under” the prior week. Due to the public’s overreaction to early season results, bet the “over” this week. This system has yielded a 100-62 record over many years.
That being said, last week the total was set at 49 points in the San Francisco versus Philadelphia game. Only 29 points were scored, which made the “under” a clear winner. As for the Cowboys versus Chargers meeting, many people expected a shootout, as evidenced by the total set at 55. However, only 37 points were scored so the “under” hit once again. Following the betting angle described earlier, I’m taking the “over” this week.
Even my own analysis agrees with this play. The Eagles offense should be able to move the ball against a suspect Cowboys defense. Jalen Hurts is no Tom Brady, but he can put some points on the board by using a combination of his arm and legs. Meanwhile, there is little doubt about how good the Cowboys offense is. They only scored 20 points at the Chargers last week, but we all know how dangerous they are.
For all of these reasons, I’m banking on the “over” to hit in this NFC East showdown.
For entertainment purposes, here are some leans:
- Ravens -7.5 at Lions (Detroit loses one day of rest and preparation after playing the Monday nighter in Green Bay last week. That’s bad news when facing such a tough squad as Baltimore. The Ravens are a good road team, as shown by their 11-5 ATS record in their last 16 games as the visiting team. How have the Lions done following a loss by 15+ points? Their 9-19 record ATS tends to suggest they are not doing so well in such cases.);
- Cardinals -7.5 at Jaguars (Boy, have the Jaguars look bad so far this season, including an embarrassing loss to the Texans in the season opener. Trevor Lawrence currently leads the league with 36% of his passes being uncatchable. Arizona has proven they can take advantage of weaker opponents on the road. Indeed, they are 19-7 ATS as the visiting team when the home squad has a losing record);
- Chargers +6.5 at Chiefs (Kansas City is one of the most popular teams among sports bettors, but they have not delivered very often. Did you know that they are 1-5 as home favorites lately? The Chargers definitely have a good lineup that can keep up with the Chiefs. They are also 4-1-1 ATS in their last six visits at Arrowhead Stadium).
I hope you enjoyed the read, a HUGE thank you for being such a faithful reader!!
(Sports Betting Expert / University Professor / PhD in statistics)